Category Archives: Clothes

Got Too Much Stuff? Donate it– UNlimiters Style!

imagesA few weeks ago my husband and I got a new couch. Well, it wasn’t really new, but it was “new to us.” Unlike our many other pieces of “new to us” furniture, this was very gently used. I love it. Of course, since I use the furniture and the walls to get around my house, we had to make sure that everything was positioned just so; but now that everything has been arranged it looks lovely.However, there is one small problem, and by one I mean two, and by small I mean rather large.

See, despite the fact that our trash company had agreed to take the old couches away for $10 a piece, they are still sitting in my basement, along with the two couches we were using before them. That’s right; I now have four used couches in my basement. Why? Well, that’s a logical question, and if I had an answer there would not be four couches in my basement. I cannot move the couches, so my husband has to do it, and he says that he cannot move them because he needs someone to help him. To date, he has not asked anyone and no one has spontaneously volunteered.

This is seriously enough to drive a woman insane. Fortunately, I have found a way in which I can get rid of some of the other stuff that seems to accumulate when you are a home owner, without needing my husband to help. Donate Stuff is an organization that accepts donations of gently used clothing and household items. The best part? They will pick them up for you on a scheduled date and time. The items you donate will go to a local charity and the pick-up is absolutely free. In my area, the items picked up by Donate Stuff goes to my local Purple Heart, a charity that supports military veterans and their families. It is really easy to schedule a pick – up, you just go to www.donatestuff.com and enter your zip code, then follow the instructions. If pickup is not available in your area, Donate Stuff will send you pre-paid UPS bags to mail in your clothing donations, for free.

Unfortunately for me and my couch situation, Donate Stuff does not pick up large items; they only take items that can be moved by a single person. But they will take clothing, small furniture, small appliances and other household items, which make them a great resource when you clean out your closet at the end of the season, buy a new coffee maker or your child suddenly decides that trains are for babies. You can donate these items knowing that they will be going to new families instead of filling up a landfill or your basement.

So when I look at those four couches sitting in my basement, I remember to be grateful that it is only couches, and not the hundreds of other items I have been able to donate to a good cause. I just keep hoping that someday soon a magic fairy, or a very large man, might come and take them a way.

Ironing Will Never be Fun, but it Doesn’t Have to be a Struggle

ironingLike so many other children, I wanted nothing more than to grow up so I could do what I wanted when I wanted. It took about five minutes of living alone to realize that I had been foolish. Being a grown up does mean you can mostly do what you want when you want, but it also means that there is no one else around to do what needs to be done. Household chores become solely your responsibility, and they aren’t any more enjoyable as an adult.

Ironing is one chore that I avoided successfully for 28 years. If something was wrinkled, I wore something else. If I had no other options, I would sometimes throw it in the dryer hoping for the best. But most of the time, I would just put it on anyway and hope that by the time I got to where I was going the wrinkles would fall out on their own.

I was perfectly happy with this arrangement. However, when I started quilting I discovered that ironing, and more specifically pressing, was going to be necessary. My mother gave me an iron and for a while I borrowed an ironing board; but I knew that eventually I would need my own.

I also knew I would have to find something that would fit my needs. I probably had a more few requirements than the average person buying an ironing board. I wanted to be able to use it standing or sitting, I wanted to be able to put it away independently, and I wanted it to be big enough to work with my larger quilts. This over the door ironing board turned out to be just the right fit. When open, it is a good height for sitting or standing, folds up against the wall for easy storage and is 14 inches wide by 42 inches long.

I have been using this board for a few years now and it works well. The ironing board can bare a lot of weight, which is especially good since I tend to lean on things while I work; so for added stability I put a wedge under my door to minimize shifting. I will caution that because this board only attaches to the top of the door it will slide an inch or two if leaned into, This slight shifting has not caused me to fall or loose my balance, and if not an issue at all when I am sitting because I don’t lean into the board.

I still hate ironing and pressing. In fact, it is my least favorite part of quilting. I have by no means gotten any better at ironing my clothing either, but this board makes this dreaded chore a little bit less of a burden.

The Mall of America – My Happy Place

twinkly-lights-at-the-mall-of-america

I may not be the luckiest gal in life (points to damaged spinal cord), but I haven’t struck out completely. I live 20 minutes from the biggest mall in the United States – the Mall of America. Oh yes, all of you shopaholics out there be jealous; very, very jealous. This place really is that good.

If you haven’t been here before it’s pretty spectacular. I’ve been going since the mall first opened when I was 12 years old. My dad brought me to the top floor my first time visiting so I could see the indoor amusement park, and it’s been my happy place since; especially after my injury. A lot of things changed after I became paralyzed, but the Mall of America wasn’t one of them.

It’s funny how a giant concrete building full of stores can make me happier than Prozac (I guess that means I would not be happy in North Korea?). The place has so much meaning for me. When I was 17, I would take the bus to the Mall of America with my rehab-mates; newly injured people also looking for a place to forget their problems.

We’d take the number 19, get off and go to the 4th floor to see a movie, then hit up Hooter’s for some wings (yes I was hanging with the guys lol). I even worked at Victoria’s Secret on the first floor while in college.  It was quite the interesting experience selling lingerie as a wheelchair-user, especially in the front room where they put me. Selling bra and panty sets to traveling businessmen for their wives back at home was always movie script-worthy.

And I was there again just last Monday for my up-teenth time; this time to cruise the newest stores before the holiday rush, or shall I say “holiday insanity.” People fly here from all over the world – Europe, Japan, the US – to do their Christmas shopping. It’s a beautiful holiday spectacle, and I know where all the elevators are.

But here’s the deal, I really can’t handle the crowds anymore. I now only go to the mall on Monday mornings, and let me say nothing gets you in the “Christmasey” mood more than going to the Mall of America right now. They have their twinkly lights up, garland up; it’s breathtaking. The whole place feels like a fairy wonderland, and the best part are all the new stores they’ve opened just in time for the holidays.

Tilly’s (a massive skater clothing store from California), A’gaci (a women’s clothing store from the South that has amazing deals on sexy stretchy pants that look great when you can’t walk), Moods of Norway, a free-standing Pink store, Free People, and these are the new ones as of this month. Did I also mention they have the biggest Forever 21 store in the planet, housed in the old Bloomingdale’s? The store is so big it has its own coffee shop. I got lost there once.

If you like shopping, you need to add the Mall of America to your bucket list. As someone who’s been going since it opened, it’s better than ever right now, with more high-end, hard-to-find stores. And the best part there’s no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota, which means all of your clothing purchases are exactly as it says on the price tag.

After returning home from the mall, I unpacked my bags and felt like I had won. There’s nothing like scoring on clothes at your favorite place in the world. $3 and $5 leggings, a $7 “lip” print scarf, sexy off-white stretch pant leggings for $22, a few v-neck long-sleeved tops from Old Navy; it was a good shopping day. I felt pretty and SO excited to get dolled up. I forgot how much escaping to this place can boost my mood.

I will admit though the mall is far from perfect, crowds, materialism at it’s best, but it still holds so many memories that will always warm my soul. Have I spent too much money here? Probably, but I’ll never ever regret it.

Where is your happy place?

Products mentioned

– Stretch pant legging from A’gaci

– Lip print scarf from Wet Seal

– Long-sleeved v-neck tops from Old Navy

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Love for 3eLove

When I was growing up, I never heard of disability pride. Disability was not something to be celebrated, but something to be fixed or hidden away. Thankfully, I had amazing parents who never let me believe that just because I had a disability, I was any less capable than everyone else. Even with their support, however, I felt alone; I didn’t have anyone like me to look up too and I often hated my disability.

Fortunately, I eventually learned to embrace my disability; even better, society is beginning to change. Children today have a lot of positive role models when it comes to living life with a disability. People like Josh Blue, who used his disability to carve his own niche in stand-up comedy; or Abbey Curran, who challenged conventional ideals of beauty by being the first woman with CP to compete in and place in the Miss USA pageant. They are showing people with disabilities, and the world, that living with a disability is no longer something to be ashamed of, but something to be embraced and celebrated. But it isn’t just individuals who are changing society’s outlook on disabilities; companies like 3eLove are also making a huge impact.

3eLove was started in 2007 by Chicago natives, Annie and Stevie Hopkins, as a way of promoting their unique symbol of acceptance. The wheelchair heart logo, as well as their social model of disability, encourages others to embrace diversity, educate society, and empower one another to love life. 3eLove may have started as a small Chicago clothing company, but it is now and international movement.

I discovered 3eLove a few years ago when I saw a wheelchair heart car decal on the mini-van driving in front of me. I thought it was neat and made a mental note to try to find out more about them. Later, when I googled “wheelchair heart,” I found 3eLove’s website pretty quickly and discovered that it was more than just bumper stickers.  They had everything, from key chains and water bottles to tank tops and backpacks. The logo alone had me wanting to buy right away, but the more I read about the mission behind the logo, I knew it was something I had to be a part of.

I started with a Proud© shirt for myself, then I bought one for my husband so that we could wear them in our one year anniversary photos. Then I bought one for each of my close friends and family for Christmas. Now, I have a whole proud army. This year, they even came out with dog collars so my dog could join the ranks.

I love 3eLove. It makes me so happy when I go on their Facebook page and I see a 5 or 6 year old smiling in their wheelchair sporting their 3eLove gear. I wish that kid could have been me; but I am glad, at least, that future generations have the opportunity to grow up embracing their disabilities, proud of whom they are and loving life.

Thrift Store Finds Made Cooler

“Re-furbished” top

Five years ago an amazing thing happened in my world. I was enlightened to the existence of thrifting. It may be a seemingly trivial thing to those with copious amounts of money, but for someone who lives on a fixed income, it has unhinged my world. Goodwill, Salvation Army, garage sales, rummage sales – give ’em here.

The sport, nay the art form of thrifting has been kept alive the middle and lower class masses for decades, helping up furnish our homes and help us look cool on the cheap. Where else can you find a pair of mid ’80s Guess jeans for only $10? Or an amazing sectional couch for only $200? Sure, it may be covered in cat hair, but that’s what lint rollers are for.

If only I has known how cool thrifting was when I was in college. Back in my crazy collegiate days, only new would do. Thrifting was happening, but not in my world. But now it’s 2013 and I as well as the entire world has changed. Thrifting is now cool, and that’s especially true for anything that’s been used or reused multiple times.

At 25 is when I discovered I could replenish my wardrobe each season for $50 while thrifting, and I haven’t looked back since. And oh my the tricks I’ve come across. Sometimes however it can be a hit or miss when thrifting, especially when you don’t try on things until you get home.

I never try on things in dressing rooms as a wheelchair-user. It’s just too hard. And sometimes, I can’t find the size I want. So I opt for a much more creative solution in lieu of disposing the item, or not buying it – I’ll just cut it or re-fashion it to still make it work.

YouTube gave me this idea years ago, and my thrifting finds have not been the same since. You can do so much with a pair of scissors, and even a little duck tape if you use a wheelchair. One of my favorite things to do is make a short-sleeved cardigan out of a long-sleeved cardigan by  chopping off the arms above the elbow, then rolling it up a couple times so you’d never be able to tell.

I also love to cut t-shirts into tank tops, one-shoulder tanks, even cutting a bigger neckline so it gives me more shape, and adding a cute scarf. And when you cut thrift store finds, you don’t have to stress about ruining them since the item was is cheap. $2 – $4 t-shirts with funny retro sayings are perfect for this.

And I’ll also use black fabric paint to cover up marks on darker clothing, or even use duct tape to make a shirt look tighter by taping the back closer together. There are a lot of cool fixes you can make to clothing when you can’t walk since hiding jerry-rigs is so much easier.

And when in doubt, a thread and needle can be your best friend, or your caregiver’s. And a solid laundry detergent is also a must too, since thrift store finds always carry that oh-so-lovely smell. A fresh scent dryer sheet can make a purchase seem totally brand new, and you can’t get better than that.

So if you haven’t given thrifting a full go, now is the time. Fall is almost here….it’s the perfect time to start thrifting for a cute coat before they’re all gone, or a football jersey if that’s your thing. Search online for a local thrift shop that offers different daily deals too. The stores that offer discounts each Monday are the best.

Truly anything, even my bedside rolling table, can be found while out thrifting. It has become my new, quite addicting, hobby.

Ok, time to head out thrifting again. bbiab.

Recommended Products

– Bounce Fresh Linen Dryer Sheets

– Quad friendly scissors to cut clothing

– Mini sewing kit

– Black fabric touch-up paint

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